Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Blog Tour: Maya's Notebook by Isabel Allende

Author: Isabel Allende 
Publisher: Harper
Date of publication: April 2013

 Isabel Allende’s latest novel, set in the present day (a new departure for the author), tells the story of a 19-year-old American girl who finds refuge on a remote island off the coast of Chile after falling into a life of drugs, crime, and prostitution. There, in the company of a torture survivor, a lame dog, and other unforgettable characters, Maya Vidal writes her story, which includes pursuit by a gang of assassins, the police, the FBI, and Interpol. In the process, she unveils a terrible family secret, comes to understand the meaning of love and loyalty, and initiates the greatest adventure of her life: the journey into her own soul.
 Maya's Notebook is a beautifully written and compelling story about a girl who runs away to Chile to hide and in the process begins to find herself.  Maya Vidal has gone through so much in her short life.  While she is hiding on the island of Chiloe, she writes in her notebook about her daily life on the island and the friends she makes there.  She also writes about the events in her life that led her to flee the US.  The book doesn't really have chapters as it is more in journal form. 

I liked the story a lot.  I was sucked in immediately as I followed the journey through Maya's life.  Through writing in a notebook/journal, she is able to look back and examine the things that happened to her.  I liked Maya.  I liked that she allowed herself to look at the past through open eyes and was brutally honest about herself and the role she played in the things that happened to her. Maya's story was uncomfortable to read at times as she sinks lower into the black hole of drug addiction and rebellion. I think more than rehab, the isolation and quiet way of living on the island allowed her to really dig deep into herself. The ending was very satisfying.  I was left with a sense that Maya would ultimately be OK. She still has along road ahead of her, but she is a survivor.  I also felt like her family learned some things along the way as well and would be instrumental in her healing.

Mixed in with Maya's story, the author has woven parts of Chilean history and culture.  I found these parts to be interesting as I know nothing of the region. We also get a glimpse into the seedier side of Las Vegas life.  This is the first book that I have read by this author.  If this book is any indication of her style of writing, I know I will be seeking out her earlier works.  

About the author:

Isabel Allende Llona is a Chilean-American novelist. Allende, who writes in the "magic realism" tradition, is considered one of the first successful women novelists in Latin America. She has written novels based in part on her own experiences, often focusing on the experiences of women, weaving myth and realism together. She has lectured and done extensive book tours and has taught literature at several US colleges. She currently resides in California with her husband. Allende adopted U.S. citizenship in 2003.


1 comment:

trish said...

It's really hard to be brutally honest with ourselves about our past!

I'm glad the ending was satisfying.

Thanks for being on the tour!